By Jennifer Brofer
SUN VALLEY, Calif. – One hundred percent of students at North Valley Military Institute (NVMI) College Preparatory Academy graduate from high school, while the 4-year high school graduation rate at the state level is 83.6 percent, according to latest statistics from the California Department of Education. One of the reasons for the success of NVMI students is the support they receive from a group of dedicated academic counselors.
“NVMI's Company Counselors hold California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Pupil Personnel Services credentials,” according to Dr. Mark Ryan, Superintendent of NVMI. “This team of highly dedicated individuals help students plan their academic schedules so they graduate on time, complete all admission requirements for four-year colleges and universities, and have all the support they need to gain admission and financial aid for college and career training. They are assigned to military companies so they work with the same students all seven years of their NVMI enrollment, and are thus able to get to know students and their families and provide both academic and socioemotional guidance to them.”
According to Jeanette Sanchez, Head Academic Counselor for NVMI, “Our primary duty is to provide outreach to enhance student development (socially and emotionally), improve the quality of the learning environment, and counsel students to meet post-secondary educational and career goals.”
NVMI Counselors (left to right): Jeanette Sanchez, Leticia Anaya, Nick Jackson,
Blake Vargas, Stephon Garcia, Liliana Murcia.
NVMI has six academic counselors, including one for each of the four companies, one Associate Academic counselor, and one counselor for students enrolled at Los Angeles Mission College (LAMC) as part of the Early College Program. Of the NVMI students who graduate high school, 86 percent go on to attend a 2-year or 4-year college or university.
For the 97 percent of NVMI students who come from socioeconomically disadvantaged households, attending college may feel unattainable, said Sanchez.
“A former student of mine had never considered attending college because he was under the impression that it was way out of his reach,” said Sanchez, who has worked at NVMI since 2019. “However, part of NVMI’s graduation requirements is to apply to at least four universities.”
Sanchez worked with this student who ended up submitting eight applications to various universities. Not only were they accepted into University of California, Santa Barbara, they were awarded a $120,000 scholarship.
“The student is now a first-year student at UCSB and holds the academic standing of a sophomore due to the college credits he received at NVMI through our dual-enrollment program with LAMC,” said Sanchez. “Long story short, this student doubted his ability and genuinely believed that college would not be an option for him due to his socio-economic status and initial lack of post secondary knowledge. By being able to simply guide and assist this student, it is plausible to say that his mindset and life has forever been changed.”
For Nick Jackson, Associate Academic Counselor, the best part of the job is helping students realize their true potential.
“The most rewarding part of my job is helping see cadets from the point where they’ve decided they want to do something and they’re convinced they can’t do it, and then actually seeing them on the other side of getting it done.”